MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Rene Betanourt took his first steps Monday evening, just days after a brutal attack that nearly ended his life.
His father, Rene Betancourt, Sr., told CBS 4 News, his son also ate his first solid food since undergoing surgery to place a titanium plate over his fractured skull.
“We couldn’t be happier,” the older Betancourt said about his son’s progress.
Rene Betancourt’s nose is broken. He’s missing teeth. His eyes are still swollen shut. But Monday, he had a message for his father.
“He told me, ‘Dad, I want to go home,” Betancourt said.
It will be a while before that dream becomes reality for the 22-year-old recovering at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
His sister, Daniela, explained the damage done by a vicious beating and robbery. “He had so many cracks in his skull,” she said, “that it seemed the doctors could not even count them.”
Police believe Betancourt was beaten near Biscayne Blvd. and Northeast 3rd Street.
Authorities say as many as five men attacked Betancourt getting away with his wallet.
Family members say Betancourt managed to call friends and family after the attack, and even drove himself to a parking lot near the hospital.
“He stayed inside his car for 12 hours before my parents were able to find him,” Daniela Betancourt said.
Doctors believed Betancourt was near death when he arrived at the hospital.
His family says that makes his recovery that much more astounding.
“Before my son went in to surgery, I told him to his ear, and I told my wife, that someday we’ll be smiling about this incident. Little did we know that it would be so fast,” Rene Betancourt, Sr. said.
Doctors are confident Betancourt will make a full, or close to full, recovery.
They say that will take time and therapy.
Police are still looking for the people responsible for the attack.